GMT -5 hours
A charming island of palm-fringed beaches and colonial-style architecture
Aruba is a small Dutch Caribbean island lying just 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela in the azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. A unique melting pot of people, languages and cuisines, this beautiful destination has something for everyone - you won't want to leave.
A land of perpetual sunshine and a melting pot of cultures, Aruba is an exotic paradise located deep in the southern Caribbean Sea. Along with the Netherlands, Sint Maartin and the fellow ‘ABC Island’ of Curaçao, the island of Aruba is a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, resplendent in Dutch colonial architecture and tradition. Playing host to over 90 different nationalities the island also boasts an incredible mishmash of cultures, including a strong link with the indigenous Arawak culture unseen elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The average Aruban beach can quite rightly be described as heavenly, featuring wide talcum-white bays which are lapped by cerulean seas and backed by both intimate and stylish resorts and inclusive properties offering myriad family-friendly activities. The sheltered south and west coasts are home to the island’s finest beaches and calmest, most inviting waters perfect for swimming. The tranquil waters and powder-soft sands which fringe the premier resort of Palm Beach, and the all inclusive Occidental Grand Aruba, are a firm favourite for family holidays. To the south is Eagle Beach, Palm Beach’s more relaxed neighbour, home to the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba and the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa.
The capital Oranjestad is undoubtedly Dutch - named after the Netherlands’ first king and the first heir to the House of Orange, William of Orange-Nassau, and featuring colourful colonial buildings featuring unmistakable carved wooden details and traditional Dutch tiles. The local’s legendary hospitality pervades through the streets of the town providing a tempting example of what is to come on an Aruba escape. Chic bars, cafes and duty free shops can be found in the town's malls, on the marketplaces and plazas and overlooking the charming marina.
The incredible 7907 acre Arikok National Park, which encompasses almost 20% of the entire island, showcases diverse geological landscapes, provides a sanctuary for native flora and fauna and affords a glimpse into Aruba’s past. Follow hiking trails to witness abandoned gold mines, plantation house ruins, ancient Arawak paintings and fossils and an island desert strewn with cacti and divi-divi trees before discovering the shadowy caves beneath your feet. If all this exploration under Caribbean rays leaves you a little hot and bothered then there is the refreshing Natural Pool where you can take a refreshing dip before returning to your beachside resort.